She had placed herself on one of the largest, and all the vessels had scudded past in terror while she
sat there and let the wind flutter her long streaming hair; but towards evening the sky became overcast, it thundered and lightened, while the dark sea lifted the large icebergs high up so that they shone in the strong glare of the lightning. All the ships took in their sails; distress and horror reigned, but she sat calmly on her iceberg and watched the lightning as it zigzagged into the troubled sea.
The first time any of the sisters rose to the sur
face of the water she was always enraptured with the new and beautiful things she saw, but afterwards, when, as grown-up girls they had leave to go above whenever they chose, they became quite indifferent to such trips. They longed for t
he deep water, and in about a month would say that it was nicest down below, for there one felt so thoroughly at home.
Very often in the evenings the five sisters would entwine their arms and rise in a row to the surf
ace of the water. They had beautiful voices, sweeter than any human voice, and when a gale was blowing and they had reason to believe a ship might be lost, they would swim before the vessel and sing sweetly of the joys to be found at the
bottom at the sea, and bid the sailors not be afraid to come down. But the sailors could not understand their words; they fancied the sound was the howling of the storm, nor did they ever see any of the beautiful things below, for when
the ship sank the crew were drowned and only their dead bodies reached the Sea-King's palace.
每当黄昏，五姊妹经常手挽着手浮上海面且排成一列。 她们能唱出比人类声音还要甜美而动听的歌曲。当风暴即将来临，她们认为有些船只也要沉没的时候，她们就浮到这些船的面前，唱着非常动听的歌，娓娓唱出了海底是多么的快乐，并告诉这些水手不要害怕沉到海底。 然而这些人却听不懂她们所唱的歌词，以为这是暴风的声息。他们也想不到能在海底看到什么美好的东西，因为如果船沉了，船上的人就会淹死，他们只有成为死人，才能到达海王的宫殿。